2018 GUEST ARTIST FACULTY
ARTIST FACULTY IN RESIDENCE
Artistic Director & Founder
HECTOR DEL CURTO (Director and Bandoneon Faculty)
Praised by the New York Times as a
"splendid player", Argentinean bandoneonist Héctor Del Curto's career spanning for more than twenty–five years, has encompassed traditional Tango, New Tango, Jazz, Classical and World music. A recent Grammy–award winner, he has performed with world–renowned tango
legends such as Astor Piazzolla and Osvaldo Pugliese, clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera,
saxophonist Joe Lovano, violinist Cho–Liang Lin, pianist Pablo Ziegler, as well as with Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,
the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington D.C.), the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Mobile Symphony Orchestra, the Buenos Aires Symphony Orchestra and the Teatro Colón Ballet among many others.
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Tango has been in the Del Curto family since the early
1900s. Hector's great–grandfather Luis Segundo Del Curto
was a bandoneonist, composer and band leader. His grandfather Hector Cristobal, also a bandoneon player, was Hector's first bandoneon teacher. He continued his musical studies with Oscar Bassil, who was a member of Quinteto Pirincho and Francisco Canaro's orchestra, and later with bandoneon masters Julio Pane and Nestor Marconi.
By the age of 17, Héctor had won the title "Best Bandoneon Player Under 25"
in Argentina, and was invited to join the orchestra of the
legendary Osvaldo Pugliese, the "Last Giant of Tango." Since then, he has worked with some of the most influential tango musicians such as Leopoldo Federico, Horacio Salgán, Osvaldo Ruggiero, Roberto Goyeneche, Maria Graña, Victor Lavallén, Alberto Morán, Antonio Agri, Raúl Lavié, Carlos Garcia and Fernando Suarez Paz.
In 1999, Del Curto received the Golden Note Award from the
Italian–American Network in recognition of his artistic
achievements. As conductor, he directed the spectacular show
"Forever Tango" on Broadway and founded the "Eternal Tango
Orchestra", a ten piece ensemble.
Héctor Del Curto released his second album "Eternal Piazzolla" on June
18th, 2013 with sold out concert at Le Poisson Rouge in New York
City. His first CD "Eternal Tango" was featured on Public Radio
International's "The World" and BBC News.
Curto's recordings include performances with Osvaldo Pugliese and
Astor Piazzolla on "Finally Together" (Lucho Records), Pablo
Ziegler on the albums "Asphalt" and "Quintet for the New Tango"
(BMG), "Tango Magic" (Sony Music–USA) on video and DVD and "Tango
and All That Jazz" (Kind of Blue Records), and Luis Borda
Cuarteto on "Linea de Tango" (Jazz and Fusion Records). He is also
a guest artist in recordings such as Latin music legend, Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri's Grammy Award–winning collaboration "Masterpiece", renowned mezzo-soprano, Denyce Graves' "The Lost Days" (BMG), Paquito D'Rivera's "Funk Tango", Ricardo Arjona's
"Santo Pecado" (Sony International), and Shakira's "Laundry
Executive Director & Founder JISOO OK (String Faculty)
Cellist, Jisoo Ok is a multi–faceted musician who
has distinguished herself as an interpreter of classical, tango,
jazz and contemporary music. She has closely collaborated with
distinguished musicians such as pianist Pablo Ziegler,
bandoneonist Héctor Del Curto and clarinetist, Paquito D'Rivera
and performed with renowned jazz violinist Regina Carter, bass legend Ron Carter, gypsy
guitarist Dorado Schmitt, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, drummer Lenny White,
tango singer Sandra Luna and bandoneonist Victor Lavallén, the conductor of the Orquesta Escuela Emilio Balcarce and Forever Tango.
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Jisoo performed worldwide in venues and festivals such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall,
Kennedy Center, Birdland, La Jolla Music Society's SummerFest, Laguna Beach Music Festival, the Chautauqua Institute, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Miami International
Piano Festival, Concerti di Mezzogiorno at Spoleto Festival "Festival dei Due Mondi" in Italy, Auckland and Wellington Town Halls in New Zealand, Copa Fest in Brazil, Houston International Festival, SummerStage at Central Park among others.
Jisoo Ok's recording appearance includes two critically acclaimed albums, "Eternal Tango" and "Eternal Piazzolla", which she co–produced with her husband, Hector Del Curto and "Rojo Tango" with Erwin
Schrott released in 2011 on Sony Classical. She appears as a guest artist on "Horizon: Piano and Chamber works by Gareth Farr" with pianist Henry Wong Doe on Trust Record, on "Django Festival Allstars" with Dorado Schmitt and on "Introducing Letizia Gambi" with Lenny White, Chick Corea, Ron Carter, Gato Barbieri, Gil Goldstein, Hector Del Curto and Patrice Rushen on Jando Music.
Born in Seoul, Korea, she grew up in New Zealand. Jisoo began cello studies at the age of eleven
to escape from studying violin. She received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from The Juilliard School studying with Bonnie Hampton and Fred Sherry and she received chamber music coaching from Itzhak Perlman and Robert Mann.
JULIO PANE (Guest Artist Faculty)
Julio Pane is one of the foremost bandoneonist in tango history: his flawless technique combined with his inimitable warmth and expressionism has solidified his renown as an icon. He is sought after throughout the world for his appearances with renowned musicians and leading orchestras, and regularly toured with his trio at numerous festivals and stages.
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Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he started learning bandoneon with his father and his uncle. In his early years, he has performed with the legendary tango artists such as Edmundo Rivero, Horacio Salgán, Enrique Francini, Osvaldo Manzi, Armando Pontier, Atilio Stampone, Héctor Stamponi, Miguel Caló, José Basso, Leopoldo Federico, Osvaldo Tarantino, and Astor Piazzolla.
In the early 80s as lead bandoneon he joined the Orquesta del Tango de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires led by Carlos García and Raúl Garello. In 1989 Astor Piazzolla called him to join his sextet as second bandoneon and they traveled to Canada and the United States of America.
After Piazzolla’s death, in 1992 he traveled to France and played as soloist with the Symphonic Orchestra of Toulouse and later with the Symphonic Orchestra of Dresden, in Germany, both then conducted by Raúl Garello.
In 1995 he recorded Piazzolla x Piazzolla. In 1997 at the concert to pay homage to Piazzolla called, Astortango, he performed with that same line–up as the album Piazzolla x Piazzolla alongside Gary Burton and Chick Corea, especially invited for that event.
His celebrated trio, with the pianist Nicolás Ledesma and the bass player Enrique Guerra, they toured in Europe and released two CDs, one as the featured group and the other as guest artists, to pay homage to Enrique Cadícamo.
Julio Pane played as the soloist at the Oratorio Carlos Gardel, composed and conducted by maestro Horacio Salgán with lyrics by the great poet Horacio Ferrer.
Some of the masterworks composed recently by Julio Pane include Interlude, recorded in Italy by Marcelo Nisinman and a chamber piece for two bandoneons recorded by Juan José Mosalini in Paris.
In 2003 he recorded a compact disc titled Un placer, which was greatly acclaim by the critics, in a duo setting with the virtuoso guitarist Juanjo Domínguez.
Julio Pane is one of the greatest bandoneon pedagogues of all time. His former students include Marcelo Nisinman, Gustavo Toker, Pablo Mainetti, Héctor Del Curto and Mariano Signa.
NICOLÁS LEDESMA (Guest Artist Faculty)
Born in the province of La Pampa, Argentina, Nicolás Ledesma is a world's leading tango pianist. He has performed with the iconic tango artists such as Leopoldo Federico, Julio Pane, Fernando Suárez Paz and Walter Ríos and also worked with world-renowned musicians like vibraphonist Gary Burton, cellist Yo–Yo Ma, conductor Daniel Barenboim and the Orquesta Filarm&aocute;nica Nacional.
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He studied with the legendary pianist, Horacio Salgán. He also studied with Manolo Juárez, Guillermo Iscla, and Juan Carlos Cirigliano.
In 2003, as an arranger and director, he formed his own ensemble and recorded Meridiano Buenos Aires. Some of this well known compositions are De Tango somos dedicated to Leopoldo Federico, Milonguero de Siempre, Sueño de Tango, Ruta Siete, Fuelle Amigo, Oiga Pibe, dedicated to Carlos García, El Marquetín with Miguel Cantilo, Luchar y Existir with Susana Rinaldi, Dime with María Viviana, A Toda Orquesta with Leopoldo Federico, Bettita dedicated to his mother, Voy a Buena dedicated to Fernando Suárez Paz and La Revolcada.
Nicolás Ledesma has recorded four CDs with high praises by the audience and the critics: Sueño de Tango, piano solos in 2001; De Tango Somos in 2004; Meridiano Buenos Aires in 2008 and Cuando Llora la Milonga in 2015.
As an experienced and dedicated educator, he was appointed as a professor at the Conservatorio de Música Manuel Falla and he is also a board member of the Asociación Argentina de Intérpretes.
HUMBERTO RIDOLFI (Guest Artist Faculty)
Praised by New York Times, Los Angeles Time and La Nacion Buenos Aires for his virtuosity, violinist Humberto Ridolfi is internationally recognized for his mastery in classical and Tango music.
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Born in Mendoza Argentina, he was a student of Josef Gingold, one of the greatest violinists and violin pedagogues of all time, at Indiana University and also studied with Jaime Laredo and Alberto Lysy at the Menuhim Academy in Gstaad, Switzerland. He has also received numerous prizes in Chamber Music competitions in Italy, Geneva, Barcelona and USA.
He joined the acclaimed Broadway show Forever Tango in 1997. He toured with the show in US, Canada, Mexico and Japan and appeared on Forever Tango’s CD in Tokyo for Toshiba EMI LABEL and on a live DVD.
In 2003, he was invited to be a member of the Orquesta Filarmónica Teatro Colón. For their 2018 concert season, he will perform the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the orchestra.
Humberto Ridolfi also worked closely with numerous legendary tango musicians including Leopoldo Federico, Victor Lavallen, Nestor Marconi and Daniel Binelli.
This year, he was invited by C.Hoffman and Binelli to tour with the Tango Metrópolis in France.
PEDRO GIRAUDO (Double Bass Faculty)
Originally from Córdoba, Argentina, Pedro Giraudo moved to New York City in 1996. A highly
versatile bassist, he ia very much in–demand performing in a wide variety of musical
projects, both his own and as a member of several prominent ensembles, ranging from tango to jazz.
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Pedro Giraudo has collaborated with Grammy award winner Pablo Ziegler, 9 time Grammy award winner
Paquito D'Rivera, Latin American icon Ruben Blades, and Dizzy Gillespie's protégé William Cepeda, as well as 'Tango meets Jazz' guests: Branford Marsalis, Kenny Garret, Regina Carter, Nestor Torres, Miguel Zenon among many others. Pedro Giraudo has also been the musical director
of Mariela Franganillo Company's "Tango Connection" and "Tango Recuerdo" and performed with U.S.'s most prominent tango ensembles including Hector Del Curto's Eternal Tango, Fernando Otero's X–Tango and Daniel Binelli's 'Tango Metropolis'.
As a composer and arranger, Giraudo leads his 13–piece ensemble, the Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra,
and has been hailed by critics as one of the most creative and daring bandleaders on the scene today.
The band has performed regularly in the most prestigious jazz clubs in the New York City area, including
the Jazz Standard, Birdland, The Jazz Gallery, Blue Note, Joe's Pub, as well as abroad. Pedro Giraudo
has also conducted the world renown WDR Big Band and the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra.
His discography includes award-winning album 'Córdoba' (Zoho Music 2011), 'El Viaje', 'Desconsuelo', 'Mr Vivo' and 'Destiny of Flowers'. He has played bass
on dozens of recordings for leading labels such as Sony, Warner, Nonesuch, Naxos and Harmonia Mundi, as well as for independent projects, and in movies including Oliver Stone's 'Wall Street II'.
In 2008, Giraudo was commissioned to compose a piece by the Jazz Gallery in New York and again and in 2010, he was commissioned by the JazzReach initiative to compose a new work for their Big Drum⁄Small World main-stage program.
GUSTAVO CASENAVE (Piano Faculty)
Originally from Montevideo, Uruguay, pianist and composer Gustavo Casenave is considered by the Uruguayan press as "one of the best pianists of our country" (Diario El Pais– Uruguay). An active performer in the jazz world and the contemporary classical scene, as well as being the one of the most saught after Tango composer, pianist and educator in the US. He moved to New York City in 1997, after graduating with honors from the Berklee College of Music where he was selected among the ten best composers.
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2012 Latin Grammy Award Nominee, for his track "Miñoqui" from the album "Tango Casenave" (Watchcraft Music), with special guest Eddie Gomez, Casenave has been performing at numerous venues worldwide such as: Blue Note, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Harris Theatre, NY City Center, Symphony Space, Lincoln Center and Kodak Theatre among many others. He has worked as musical director, pianist, composer and producer of multiple International Tango shows, including: Tango Fire, Forever Tango, Eternal Tango Orchestra, Painting Tango, Tango Casenave, Tango Buenos Aires, Tanguardia, New York Tango Trio, Tango Noir, Avantango and New York - Buenos Aires Connection.
With more than 20 years of teaching experience, he is a current guest artist for master classes and lectures at The Juilliard School. He also taught at: NYU, Yale University, University of Florida, University of Uruguay, Waldorf Schule and Klagenfurt Music Conservatory (Austria) and directed the Jazz Department at the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts. In 2012, he was invited to appear on Uruguay's most prestigious music series: "Los Grandes Musicos del Uruguay", with a sold out performance at Teatro Solis.
He was Bette Midler's Musical Director for 2 years, and worked also as her accompanist and private teacher. He was commissioned to do an arrangement of his original compositions, for "The twelve cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic", and co–wrote, arranged and recorded the Tango "Volvere" with actor Robert Duvall, which was premiered at Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He performed and recorded with several Grammy and Oscar award winners, and many internationally acclaimed artists such as: Yo–Yo Ma, Mark Egan, Jane Ira Bloom, Manolo Badrena, John Benitez, Miguel Zenon, Avishai Cohen, Bette Midler, Neil Sedaca, Robert Duvall, Charlie Persip and Curtis Lundy.
SAMI MERDINIAN (String Faculty)
Hailed by La Nacion for his "beautiful sound and exquisite musicality," Argentinean violinist Sami Merdinian has received worldwide recognition for his outstanding performances as a soloist and chamber musician. Sami has appeared with the Montevideo Philharmonic, the Argentinean National Symphony, the Charlemagne Orchestre, the Symphony Pro Musica, the Gangneung Philharmonic, the Philharmonia of the Nations at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Buenos Aires Philharmonic at Teatro Colon.
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Mr. Merdinian has performed in the prestigious Concerti di Mezzogiorno at Spoleto Festival in Italy, The Perlman Chamber Music Program, I Palpiti Festival, Green Mountains Music Festival in South Korea, Al Bustan Festival in Lebanon, and has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Izumi Hall, Seoul Arts Center, among others.
Mr. Merdinian has won several international competitions including the Gold Medal in the XII International Young Solo Instrumentalists Competition in Argentina and the New Talent Competition in Slovakia organized by the European Radio. He has also received the Rising Star Award by Tiffany & Co., was named Outstanding Artist of the Year by the Argentinean Press, and has been featured on WQXR in New York, "Spiegenzall" live from the Concertgebouw, Argentinean Classical National Station and the BBC.
Also highly sought–after as a tango violinist, Mr. Merdinian is a member of Hector Del Curto's quintet since 2006. Together, they have toured throughout the US, Mexico and South America, and recorded 2 albums with guest pianist Pablo Ziegler. Mr. Merdinian received a Latin Grammy Nomination for Best Tango Album for Cuartetango's "Masters of the Bandoneon" recording, including collaborations with artists such as Leopoldo Federico, Nestor Marconi, Lisandro Androver, Hector Del Curto, and poet Horacio Ferrer.
Mr. Merdinian was recently the solo violinist of Opera Hispanica's production of Astor Piazzolla's Opera "María de Buenos Aires" which The New York Times called "Stimulating as a Cup of Espresso".
As a violinist of string quintet Sybarite5, Mr. Merdinian has recently performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Zankel Hall, Library of Congress, Aspen Music Festival, UC San Diego, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Chautauqua Institution, Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival, Time Warner Center and Tishman Auditorium. The Quintet's debut EP disc Disturb the Silence, featuring music by Radiohead and Piazzolla, plus two original works written for Sybarite5, quickly reached the top ten on Billboard's Classical Crossover chart.
Mr. Merdinian's discography includes recordings for Universal Records, Canary Classics, CAG Records and Green Parrot Records.
While at The Juilliard School and Yale University, Mr. Merdinian was a pupil of Dorothy Delay, Naoko Tanaka and Peter Oundjian. He is the co–founder and Artist Director of the New Docta Intenational Music Festival in Cordoba, Argentina.
ANA & DIEGO (Dance Faculty)
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Ana Padron and Diego Blanco are among the most recognized teachers and performers in the world of Argentine Tango. As stage performers, choreographers, and teachers, they have danced and taught in tango festivals throughout Europe, Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Americas. They have brought tango to numerous off–Broadway shows, danced and choreographed for independent films, and have recently appeared with the Mariela Franganillo Dance Company, Romulo Larrea Tango Orchestra, the Washington Pan–American Symphony Orchestra, and Hector Del Curto's Tango Orchestra. Ana and Diego have performed at many of the prestigious venues and festivals including Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, STL Spring to Dance Immersion Festival, and Midsummer Night Swing Festival at Lincoln Center. Outside of the tango realm, they have choreographed and danced for legendary modern dance companies including Jennifer Muller/The Works and The Martha Graham Dance Company.
Ana and Diego received their Bachelor's degree in the Performing Arts at the University of Florida. They formed their considerable foundation in dance as they studied classical ballet, modern dance, jazz, and African dance as well as choreography, and the science of movement. Their studies and the legendary techniques of dance visionaries Jose Limon, Martha Graham, and Jennifer Muller are some of the influences that have established Ana and Diego as the outstanding dancers that they are today.
As the founders of Tango for All Dance Company, Ana and Diego bring their electrifying tango to audiences in America and throughout the world. Their website is at www.tangoforall.com